Does your husband forget:
- your birthday?
- where he put his keys?
- dinner plans with friends?
- the couple you met in Puerta Vallarta?
Turns out, it may not be his fault. Numerous studies show that women, in general, have better memories — particularly when it comes to names, faces and events.
A 2008 study in Sweden indicated that women excel in “verbal episodic memory tasks” such as words, pictures and everyday occurrences. That’s why we outperform men when it comes to remembering the trivial (what we wore to our grammar school graduation) as well as the not so trivial (the necessity to stop at the cleaners on the way home).
They, on the other hand, do better remembering symbolic, non-linguistic information, known as “visuospatial processing.” A man, for example, would be more likely to remember the directions to an out-of-the-way country inn – a useful skill before the advent of GPS devices.
(Speaking of visuospatial processing, my friend Denise says her husband can never remember the name of a restaurant, but if you give him the address, he suddenly remembers every detail about the place, the menu and what he ate.)
In 2013, Professor Qi Wang of Cornell University, concluded that women are better at remembering events because they record more information during the event – what they wore, what the weather was like, who else was there. So, they are better able to recall those details later.
British and Italian researchers put 100 men and women through memory tests in 2015. This study indicated that women tended to be better than the men at remembering to perform tasks linked to events, rather than to a specific time.
The females also excelled at remembering plans that involved doing, rather than saying, something.
An example might be remembering to pick up the children at school or adding soap to a load of laundry, two tasks some husbands (names withheld to protect the innocent) have been known to forget.
Other research indicates that when women reach menopause, they also struggle with brain fog and verbal fluency. (Personally, I have lost all the nouns in my vocabulary at one time or another, only to have them mysteriously return when I’m in the shower or in the middle of the night.)
“Nevertheless, women with healthy aging brains continue to have an edge over their male counterparts when it comes to memory function, even in midlife and older age,” according to Medical News Today.
When you think about it, this phenomenon can be used to a wife’s advantage. My friend Sheila, for example, has been giving her husband Jerry the same three cards every Valentine’s Day for the last three years.
“He never remembers having seen them before and thinks they’re hilarious every year,” she says.
As for Jack and me, I always say that between us we have one brain. He might remember the song, “Good Golly, Miss Molly,” but I’ll remember it was sung by Little Richard.
Who has the better memory in your home? Please, comment here.